The gun used by members of a Mexico cartel during the kidnapping of four Americans last month in Mexico was smuggled in from the United States. The man who purchased it has been arrested, CBS News reports.
According to a criminal complaint filed in a federal court, the gun was also used to kill two of the four victims, which, in turn, highlights the U.S.’s role in the violence and drug trafficking plaguing Mexico.
Roberto Lugardo Moreno appeared in court Monday to face charges of conspiring to export a firearm illegally. Moreno admitted that he bought the guns in the U.S. and knowingly provided them to members of the Gulf Cartel in Mexico, including an AR-style pistol.
He purchased the firearm in 2019 and allegedly provided it to a Gulf Cartel member. It was “recovered by Mexican authorities and linked to an incident involving the murders and kidnappings of U.S. citizens which occurred on March 3, 2023, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico,” according to the complaint.
Moreno told federal agents he was paid $100 “during the period that he purchased firearms for individuals that he knew were going to provide them to a Gulf Cartel figure in Mexico,” per the complaint. He also said he didn’t apply for a license to export the gun and knew the legal ramifications of his actions.
However, his case is like many others. In fact, according to a $10 billion lawsuit filed in 2021, against top gun manufacturers in the United States, the Mexican government estimated more than 500,000 guns are trafficked from the U.S. every year, sometimes even over 800,000 guns yearly.
Unfortunately, Mexico lost the case after a federal judge wrote they had “considerable sympathy for the people of Mexico” but ruled that manufacturers are shielded under U.S. law “when [their] product functioned as designed and intended.”
Mexico’s foreign ministry announced its plans to appeal the ruling.